A highlight for me this month was Trade & Impact, an entirely new trade show that took place in the small, mountainous town of Ifrane, Morocco (just outside of Fez). It’s no easy task to create a trade show from the ground up, let alone in a country that is new to the staff. I was truly impressed. This small and dedicated staff organized a four-day summit that consisted of a two-day conference and a two-day trade show featuring 80+ vendors who flew in from throughout the Middle East and Africa. The goal? To connect buyers with suppliers as a way to form successful business relationships and take the time to discuss issues and topics around social enterprise, creating mutually beneficial business relationships, and successful export businesses.
The exhibitors exemplified a high level of quality, professionalism, and export readiness, which can be hard for buyers to find. And the products featured were gorgeous; I was pleasantly surprised to see items I hadn’t seen before, such as beautiful leather and basketry from Niger, papier-mâché and wire lighting pendants from South Africa, textile wall art from Senegal, and much more. Another highlight was the community that formed among buyers, exhibitors, and staff. The venue was small, so after four days friendships and new business partnerships formed quite quickly.
There is no lack of energy within the team behind Trade & Impact, as their goal is to host a Trade & Impact summit event in a different African country every year. Stay tuned to hear where the venue will be in 2017! If you aren’t interested in purchasing product, but just want to learn more about social enterprise, this could be worth the journey. In just a day or two, you are bound to have a new network of colleagues who share a passion for the sector. It’s a special event and I was honored to be part of it.
There is much more to say but I will keep my post short and sweet and share some images with you instead!
Does something catch your eye? Interested in learning more about the show or about AOW Handmade’s sourcing services? If so, we look forward to hearing from you! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org